Art history research paper Essay

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art history research paper




Ancient Mediterranean Art Research Paper
I. Description of a Cycladic female figurine
Cycladic civilization is divided into three periods: Early Cycladic (3000-2000 BC), Middle
Cycladic (2000-1500 BC), and Late Cycladic (1500-1100 BC). The large amount of white
marble sculptures located in the Cycladic islands, especially Naxos and Paros, a place
exclusively made up of female folded-arm figures. These impressive marbles seem to be a
symbol of Cycladic art. These figures are the best-known and most appreciated productions
of the Cycladic art. Most of the Cycladic figures represent nude females with folded arms.
These figures are usually found in grave areas and were probably associated with funeral
rites, but some of larger size likely came from settlements or shrines. Many components
such as jewelry, marble, pottery, and figures (both male and female) have been found. The
example below (Fig.1) is a female figurine from the Bronze Age (2900-2200BC) in the area
of Cyclades, an area located between Greece and Turkey. Cyclades is an area composed by
thirty-one islands. This standing figure is an example of the late Spedos Variety, named
after a famous cemetery on the island of Naxos. The figure has a triangular and
lyre-shaped head and the size is quite big, about 67.6 cm. Few other facial details like
eyes and mouth were carved. The main features of this figure are arms folded left over
right across the stomach. The leg of this figure is slightly bent and the knee is
separate apart. Mostly important, the feet are too small to support the whole figure. The
toes point downward too. Although the facial features are not detailed, there are double
rows of red dots across both checks, the nose and the forehead, creating a kind of
decoration. Also, traces of some kind of blue paint seem to appear in the region of the
eyes. Furthermore, a curved area in the right side of the narrow head, somehow, was
painted in a dark color. It seems that the side lock only appears on the Sepdose Variety
of female arm figures. The whole figure is almost flat in shape. This figure seems to be
the standing variety of the Neolithic Aegean figurines (Honolulu 138).

In addition, the red and blue pigments were clearly valued by the Cycladic people. Various
types of storage containers used to these kinds of pigments such as palette, jars and
small clay pots. Nevertheless, the functions and meaning of these figures are still
remaining mysterious and unclear. Basically, we believe that those figures served as
funerary goods (Cycladic).

II. Male figures in Cycladic period
Male figures also occurred in the Cycladic periods. These male figures also shared the
same features of the female figurine. For instance, they both have an almond-shaped head
and their facial details are in low relief. Obviously, their arms bent at the elbows with
hands crossing their stomach and legs are set apart with horizontal position. The below
figure (Fig 2) is one of the major male figures that appeared in the Cycladic period
(Aegean).








II General background of Aegean Civilization
Aegean Civilization, actually, developed around the period of 3000 to 1200BC (also called
Bronze Age civilization). The area that Aegean civilization had covered includes Crete,
the Cyclades Islands and the mainland of Greece. Basically, the Aegean can be divided
into three major groups. First, the Cycladic culture (Early Bronze Age), second, the
Minoan culture (Middle Bronze Age), and the last one, the Mycenaean culture (Late Bronze
Age). Cycladic culture was developed on Crete prior than the coming of the Greeks, Minoan
culture was active in the area of Crete, especially around the area at Knossos and
Phaestos. Mycenaean was developed on the mainland Greece (Aegean Civilization).

A. Historical Factor
At the beginning of Aegean civilization a group of people came from the Asia Minor and
arrived to the Aegean. These people developed a skill of using bronze in their daily
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